Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Sarah Wright ()
Communications and External Relations


Gift of lab equipment fosters fun and learning in the classroom

Roane County High School student Erin Goldston operates a physics experiment, part of the collection of equipment purchased for the high school's science classes with a $10,000 corporate gift from UT-Battelle.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Dec. 23, 2008 — Physics and chemistry classes at Roane County High School recently received new lab equipment that makes learning a lot more fun, thanks to a $10,000 corporate donation from UT-Battelle.

The funds, part of a larger $47,500 corporate gift distributed among four area counties earlier this year, were used to purchase basic safety equipment as well as some pieces that students wouldn't normally be exposed to until college.

Science instructor Cindy Holmes, who formerly worked in analytical chemistry at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, said that the students love working in the labs using the new equipment.

"I bought a lot of physics sets and safety equipment for the chemistry labs," Holmes said.

Increased enrollment in the chemistry and physics classes over the past two years has meant that fewer students were able to do experiments, watching and often losing interest because they didn't have enough equipment to go around.

A visit to the classroom after the new equipment arrived showed students demonstrating how light travels through prisms, testing electrical conductance and calculating the trajectory of a ball rolling down a ramp. "They're really having fun," said Holmes.

But they are learning, too.

"I make them calculate where they think the ball will land and see if they can hit the target," Holmes said as she watched the trajectory experiment's ball sail through the air.

The funds were awarded as part of UT-Battelle's ongoing commitment to support math and science education in regional high schools. To date, UT-Battelle has donated approximately $450,000 to equip science labs in the area.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.